By Kim Plummer Krull

From the May 2011 Reporter Insert

“Incredibly thankful.”

That’s how Dr. Carl Rockrohr describes his reaction when he learned that the LCMS Michigan District will provide $50,000 to help support him and his wife, Deborah, in their new calls from LCMS World Mission to serve the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA).

“What a great sense of support and partnership from the church,” says Rockrohr, who will teach at the Theological Seminary in Tshwane and assist the LCSA bishop. Deborah, a deaconess, will be director of the seminary’s residential deaconess training program.

The Rockrohrs are the sixth missionary family from Michigan to receive funding through the Michigan District The Future is Now campaign in partnership with the Synod’s Fan into Flame.

“Reaching out in Michigan is our top priority, but it’s also our responsibility to take the Gospel outside our borders,” says Ray Zavada, the district’s vice-president for development. “While we don’t have the expertise or the opportunities that World Mission has to place international missionaries, we have people who want to help support those missionaries with their gifts.”

Michigan District President Rev. David P.E. Maier acknowledges financial challenges in a state with 14 percent unemployment. But, he adds, “We’re still the body of Christ. We have blessings and responsibilities. Hopefully, what we do will influence others to come by God’s grace to know Jesus Christ.”

The Rockrohrs are former career missionaries in Ghana. Carl now serves as assistant professor of religion at Concordia University, Ann Arbor. Beginning this summer, he and Deborah will visit congregations and seek partners to help them raise the required 80 percent of their first year field budget.

The Michigan District provides some of those “vitally important” funds.  “We are so thankful that during these tough economic times for our congregations and our schools, the district is saying they value the work of the Lord in South Africa,” Rockrohr says.

To learn more about the Rockrohrs and their call, visit